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✨ Good morning! Today is Friday, May 3, 2019, and Burger King’s officially declared war.
BULLETIN: STORMY SEASON
• The Background
Another storm is threatening to wreak havoc, but this time, more than 100 million people are in its deadly path. Cyclone Fani made landfall on the east coast of India near the city of Puri at 9:30am IST, forcing emergency evacuations for at least a million people, though it’s likely to increase over the coming days. This storm is scary AF: it’s already predicted to be India’s worst storm in 20 years with maximum sustained winds of 250 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 305 kilometres per hour. (It’s the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic, but is ridiculously close to making it into Category 5 territory.) CNN
• What Else You Need to Know
Fani gained speed in the Bay of Bengal, about 60 kilometres off the coast of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha states. India’s coast guard and navy have already deployed ships and helicopters in preparation for the storm’s path of destruction (they’ll help with relief and rescue operations), and schools along the Odisha coast have been closed until further notice. The storm is expected to bring 150 to 300 millimetres of rain, large storm surges, “significant” wind damage and inland flooding. Sadly, two people are already confirmed dead in Odisha state.
• What’s Next?
The storm is expected to weaken over the next six hours as it moves north-east, and India’s government has already allocated $144 million towards relief for the damage Fani is expected to cause.
• Cruising in Crisis Mode
Three-hundred cruise ship passengers are up sh*t’s creek without a paddle. The group is stuck off the coast of St. Lucia (could be worse?) on a Church of Scientology-owned ship, where they’ve been quarantined after a measles case was discovered on board. (Maybe not.) While measles has been spreading across the U.S. thanks to the anti-vaccination movement, St. Lucia hasn’t experienced an outbreak since 1990 and wants to keep it that way. (Who wouldn’t? Aside from the U.S., that is…) Boarding the “Freewinds” cruise ship symbolizes “the most significant spiritual accomplishment” for Scientologists. The quarantine is a hilarious ironic turn of events given that many of the most high-profile anti-vaxxers are Scientologists. It also follows on the heels of last week’s quarantine in California when officials learned that students and staff at two universities may have been exposed to the disease, as well as a 25-year-high of measles cases in the U.S., currently sitting at 700 confirmed cases. National Post
• Canada: Return to Sender
The Canadian government is doing its best to avoid a feud with the Philippines. Two weeks after the island nation’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, threatened to declare war with Canada over 100 shipping containers of garbage, the feds are offering to bring it all back home. The government’s made a formal offer to take back all the trash that’s been sitting in the Port of Manila for six years, after it was mistakenly labelled as recycling and sent to Southeast Asia. If accepted, the trash will be returned to the Port of Vancouver “very quickly” for disposal. Global News
• U.S.: Them Dems Mean Business
The Democrats are showing the House they mean action on climate change by approving a bill by 231–190 that prevents Trump from withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. The bill, approved yesterday, will move forward to the Republican-controlled Senate where it will likely be roadblocked. Regardless, Trump has already stated he’ll veto the bill if it lands on his desk. (Of course he will. 🙄) The Paris agreement was signed in 2015 by more than 190 countries; at the time, under then-President Barack Obama, the U.S. pledged $3 billion to help developing countries in the fight against global warming. Trump’s spin on things is that he doesn’t want to yield any economic gains to countries that emit more greenhouse gases than the U.S. does…thereby failing to see that that’s exactly why those countries need help. Globe and Mail
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Nobody is above the law.”
– Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi accuses Attorney General William Barr of lying to Congress (which is a crime) — after he skips out on testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee. BBC News
• Big Ban
Facebook is cracking down on its users, banning high-profile (read: notorious) users like Louis Farrakhan, Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones, and media outlet InfoWars for spreading “dangerous” rhetoric on its various platforms. The decision comes after a “lengthy” examination of the users’ profiles and the concerning content on them, including but not limited to anything from anti-Semitic language and other forms of hate-speech to the promotion of violence. Groups, pages, and other accounts created to support or promote the banned individuals or groups will also be removed. The mass takedown occurred yesterday despite the fact that the individuals or groups actually broke Facebook’s rules and regulations much earlier, causing critics to wonder about the (unnecessarily) lengthy process. CNN
• OK Google, Stop Recording
Google is opting to give users more privacy by providing an auto-delete feature on its products, such as its web browser, YouTube, and Maps. Google users are currently able to manually delete any of their data stored by Google, but turning on the the new auto-delete feature means all data is deleted every three or eighteen months without worry or hassle. The new features come after scrutiny over the data Google was collecting; it was accused of tracking people’s locations even when location history had been turned off, and it admitted to recording and having human reviewers listen in to private (😂) conversations through Google Home and the Assistant app. The new auto-delete option sounds great and all, but bear in mind that it’s only for web search history; they have no intention of deleting YouTube watch history or your voice commands issued to Google Home and Assistant (this could get awkward very, very fast). BBC News
• Hockey: Women’s Walkout
The future of women’s hockey looks somewhat unknown right now as more than 200 female professional hockey players have walked out in a cry for better women’s leagues. When the NWHL was formed in 2015, players’ salaries were capped at $15,000 each (compared to the millions players in the men’s league earn), but even that low wage was slashed in 2016, meaning some women in the pro leagues were earning just US $7,500. The protesting players are refusing to play in any North American hockey leagues until they can offer them a better deal. (Seems more than fair to us.) As of yesterday, the WNHL offered increased salaries (amounts unknown) and a 50–50 split on revenue from league-level sponsors, and is determined to move ahead with the 2019–2020 season despite dwindling rosters. Sad salaries aren’t all the players have faced: pro hockey forward Brianne Jenner told media outlets that members of the Calgary Inferno didn’t even have access to a gym until this past year. CTV News
• Playoffs update 🇨🇦
↳ The Toronto Raptors lost game three of their second-round series to the Philadelphia 76ers, 116-95. (The Sixers now lead 2-1.) Game four is Sunday afternoon at 3:30pm ET.
• Due West
It looks like Kanye West has found a new penchant for TV. After finally signing on to appear on his wife’s hit reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the rap star is trying his luck behind the camera. Showtime has ordered a script for the rap star’s new limited half-hour anthology series called Omniverse, starring Jaden Smith, who will play a younger version of West. Apparently it examines “the many doors of perception.” (Colour us intrigued.) Variety
• Two Peas in a Pod
When you hear about soulmates, you likely think of a romantic connection — but this connection is just so much better. Earlier this month, 31-year-old Nick Abott (who was born deaf) happened to be perusing Facebook when he spotted Emerson, a six-week-old rescue puppy that caught his eye. But there was something special about Emerson: like Abbott, Emerson was deaf. The posting noted that all of Emerson’s siblings had been adopted, but because of his health issues and hearing difficulties, the shelter was having a hard time placing the pup. As soon as Abbott saw that, he decided to go meet Emerson in real life. Abbott said he knew from that first meeting (Emerson ran up to him and just “sat at his feet”) and now the two are living happily ever after. Emerson’s been in good health, and Abbott’s even teaching him sign language. USA Today
• Down the Toilet
Vancouver’s having an issue with its septic system and in order to get people to pay attention to what they shouldn’t flush, it turned what they should flush into real, walking, talking characters. Yep, this week, Canada’s third-largest metropolitan area launched a video campaign featuring Poo and Pee, costumed mascots that are supposed to drive home a message “about improper flushing.” The brown and yellow mascots even made a real-life appearance this week at Watertown station in Vancouver with Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, who actually said (and we must draw attention to the quotation marks), “we want people only to flush the pee and the poo, because there’s a whole bunch of stuff that gets flushed down the toilet that doesn’t belong there.” (We’d say this is one marketing tactic that belongs in the sh*tter.) CBC News
• Free Speech
May 3 is known around the world as World Press Freedom Day, a day to promote “access to transparent and reliable information.” (No fake news, folks.) Set up by the United Nations in December 1993, this year’s theme is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation.” (Russia, are you listening?)
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Stephen Moore has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Federal Reserve board, after word got out that he wrote some sexist columns and made racist comments.
• Health Canada is making sure cigarettes are repugnant to potential buyers, announcing new packaging rules come November.
• Beyond Meat made its trading debut yesterday, and let’s just say things went really, really well.
• Verizon is looking to offload another one of its 2017 investments: blogging platform, Tumblr.
• And on a more sombre note, actor Peter Mayhew (famous for playing Chewbacca in Star Wars) passed away this week at the age of 74.
• The Language of Love
Apparently “aboot” and “eh?” just isn’t cutting it.